South Africa

POWER PLAY: Eskom casts net for key appointments despite promised job cutbacks

While Eskom acting CEO Phakamani Hadebe has announced a job and salary freeze at the bloated and embattled power utility, 30 vacancies across the country are being advertised on Eskom’s website.

Eskom’s whopping workforce of 47,658 is over-staffed by at least 27,500 (according to a 2016 World Bank Study of Utilities in Africa) and while acting CEO, Phakamani Hadebe, this week announced that the power utility has frozen all increases and new appointments, 30 vacancies, 2o of them senior posts, are being advertised on Eskom’s website. The closing dates for the advertised jobs are 18 and 22 May which suggests they are not old vacancies. The positions are in various departments countrywide and include jobs for two senior managers for capital contracts in the Group Capital Division at Eskom headquarters in Pretoria, a senior adviser for engineering services in the Generation Division, two senior projects advisers, also in the Generation Division, a senior adviser in fire risk management and emergency management in the Generation Department as well as seven senior controllers in the Generation Division. In 2017 the New York-based lender, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc, said it viewed Eskom as the “biggest single risk to the South African economy”. Eskom’s wage bill in 2017 was R36-billion. The utility, according to its 2017 annual report, employed 47,658 people but plans to reduce its head count to 36,746 by 2021/22. Eskom is due to report its financial results for 2017/18 in July. Eskom has been seriously maimed by industrial scale corruption (part of the State Capture project), delinquent municipalities, toxic management as well as weak electricity demand. The “new dawn” heralded by the election of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency has seen sweeping changes to state-owned enterprises, including Eskom. Last week the utility’s new management team, led by acting acting CEO Phakamani Hadebe, confirmed to staff that salaries would be frozen and that no new appointments would be made. Eskom’s chair, Jabu Mabuza, confirmed the internal memo on Tuesday ahead of the budget vote speech by Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan. Eskom National Spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said: “The CEO and CFO positions will be filled as advertised. No other new positions will be advertised. From now on any vacancy that opens up will be filled through internal recruitment drive.” He did not comment on the 30 jobs currently advertised on the website however. DM

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